Winter recreational crabbing openings in MA 9 and MA 12

By on December 18, 2019

The following is a press release from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.


The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today that two additional marine areas of Puget Sound will re-open for recreational crab fishing and remain open through Jan. 31, 2020.

The portion of Marine Area 9 between the Hood Canal Bridge and a line from Foulweather Bluff to Olele Point (Port Gamble, Port Ludlow) and the portion of Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal) north of a line projected due east from Ayock Point will open on Dec. 20 and remain open through Jan. 31, 2020.

After evaluation of crab harvest and December test fishery data, state and tribal co-managers agree that the crab abundance in these areas can support additional harvest, allowing the state recreational fishery to remain open through the end of January.

“This higher abundance is great news for holiday crabbers and Hood Canal residents looking to get on the water,” said Katelyn Bosley, a shellfish biologist with the department. “The department works hard to provide harvest opportunities at levels that ensure the crab population remains viable over time. Many more crab were found later in the season than the initial surveys indicated allowing us to provide more fishing opportunities this winter than we initially thought.”

In each of these two areas, crabbing will be allowed seven days a week through Jan. 31. Sport crabbers are reminded that setting or pulling traps from a vessel is only allowed from one hour before official sunrise through one hour after official sunset. Any Dungeness crab caught in the fishery from Sept. 3 through Dec. 31, 2019 must still be recorded immediately on winter catch record cards, which are valid through Dec. 31.

Anglers 15 years and older must have a current Washington shellfish or combination license valid through March 31, 2020, to participate. Licenses can be purchased by telephone at 1-866-246-9453, at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov, or at hundreds of license vendors across the state.

After the conclusion of the regular winter harvest season on Dec. 31, 2019, winter catch reports are due to WDFW by Feb. 4, 2020. For more information on catch record cards, visit WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/fishing/catch-record-card/dungeness .

Between Jan. 1, 2020 and Jan. 31, 2020 recreational crabbers will not be required to possess a Puget Sound Dungeness crab endorsement or record Dungeness crab retained on a Catch Record Card when crabbing in the portions of Puget Sound that are open after December 31st. (The portions of Puget Sound open between Jan. 1, 2020 and Jan. 31, 2020 are the sections of Marine Areas 9 and 12 described above as well as Marine Areas 8-1 and 8-2).

The daily limit in Puget Sound is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6 1/4 inches. Crabbers may also catch six red rock crab of either sex per day with a minimum carapace width of 5 inches, and six Tanner crab of either sex with a minimum carapace of 4 1/2 inches. Additional information is available on WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfishing-regulations/crab .

In addition to the opening of the portions of Marine Areas 9 and 12 described above, crabbing opportunities are now available in the following areas:

  • Marine Area 4 east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line (through Dec. 31)
  • Marine Area 5 (Sekiu) (through Dec. 31)
  • Marine Area 6 (East Juan de Fuca Strait) (through Dec. 31)
  • Marine Area 7 (San Juans, Bellingham, Gulf of Georgia) (through Dec. 31)
  • The remaining portion of Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) (through Dec. 31)
  • Marine Area 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island, and Skagit Bay) (through Jan. 31 2020)
  • Marine Area 8-2 (Port Susan and Port Gardner) (through Jan. 31 2020)

For maps of these areas, please see WDFW’s fishing regulations, starting on page 98, and available here.

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Salmon University Staff
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